South Cypress Knowledge Center

South Cypress Knowledge Center

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ADA Compliance (Americans with Disabilities Act slip resistance)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in July of 1990, provides civil rights protections to people with disabilities. Not only does it protect those individuals from being discriminated against in terms of employment but it also addresses design to ensure that they are not physically impeded from access to areas that able-bodied people routinely enjoy. Structures that need to be ADA compliant are places of public accommodation and commercial facilities in the private sector, as well as all federal, state, and local government facilities. The Act applies to structures that are built new or altered.

The Coefficient of Friction (COF) of tile is a numerical value that measures the slip resistance of a tile. It is a scale from 0 to 1 and the higher the number the more slip resistant the surface. In order for a tile to pass ADA compliance it has to meet the recommended COF of .60 for accessible routes and a .8 for ramp surfaces.

As a homeowner, if this tile has a COF of .60 or higher that means it has enough texture that you are fine to install it in an environment that could get wet such as a kitchen, bathroom or foyer. A wet floor is a slippery floor. Therefore, floor mats should be used near entry ways during inclement weather. Dusty or dirty floors are slippery. Owners should make sure that floors are cleaned as often as needed and that foreign objects are removed as soon as possible. Consider the material being used on a subjective basis. Lightly textured surfaces tend to be more slip inhibiting than slick or highly polished material.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Body Type

The two most common clay body type colors are red body and white body. Many people believe that one color is superior to the other, but this is not necessarily true. The quality of the tile has more to do with the quality of the manufacturer and denisty of the clay rather than the color of the clay. The myth that white body is superior to red body probably stems from the fact that most porcelains are white body and thus considered a more durable product, however, some porcelains can still be made with red body depending upon the manufacturer and geographic location.

We have established at this point that the color of the tile body does not determine the quality of the tile. But something to consider is if the tile ends up chipping then the body color will show through. This is why so many manufacturers have moved towards producing color body tile which stains the body to the color of the glaze surface. This synchronizes the color of both the glaze and body to lessen the visibility of any impact chips which may occur. The color remains consistent throughout the tile, but any surface design does not continue through the tile body.

Through body porcelain (sometimes referred to as unglazed porcelain ) tiles are produced using colored raw materials that permeate the entire tile, incorporating uninterrupted color and pattern features seen on the surface all the way through the tile body. The surface design is evident in a cross-section of the tile body, providing outstanding abrasion resistance and durability.

Break Strength

The breaking strength test is a good indicator of the chip resistance of a tile because it tests the strength and density of the bisque. In order to determine the breaking and flexing strength of the tile there is a standard test method used to evaluate individual pieces. A force is applied to an unsupported portion of the tile until breakage occurs. The ultimate breaking strength is then recorded in pounds.

When choosing tile for your wall you want to look for a breaking strength of 90 lbs or greater. When choose a tile for your floor you want a breaking strength of 250 lbs or greater. Tiles with higher breaking strengths can usually be expected to withstand impact and breakage better when installed.

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Chemical Resistance

There are several tests conducted by the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) which evaluate the effects of various household chemicals and substances, specifically alternations such as discoloration, changes in gloss, blistering, softening, swelling, and/or loss of adhesion.

Commons tests are ASTM C650. ASTM D1308 and ASTM D3023. Each of these tests involve placing a substance on the test subject (eg. tile) and allowed to set for at least 24 hours. The subjects are then examing for alternations to the surface.

This tile has been subjected to substances such as ink, boiling water, coffee, crayons, condiments and a variety of chemicals and tests have shown it to be resistant to these substances. Does this mean you can spill red wine and conveniently clean it up a day or two later without it possibly staining? No. Nothing is 100% chemical proof but at least this tile has pasted test showing it has proven resistance.

Coefficient of Friction

The Coefficient of Friction (COF) of tile is a numerical value that measures the slip resistance of a tile. It is a scale from 0 to 1 and the higher the number the more slip resistant the surface. In order for a tile to pass ADA compliance it has to meet the recommended COF of .60 for accessible routes and a .8 for ramp surfaces.

As a homeowner, if this tile has a COF of .60 or higher that means it has enough texture that you are fine to install it in an environment that could get wet such as a kitchen, bathroom or foyer. A wet floor is a slippery floor. Therefore, floor mats should be used near entry ways during inclement weather. Dusty or dirty floors are slippery. Owners should make sure that floors are cleaned as often as needed and that foreign objects are removed as soon as possible. Consider the material being used on a subjective basis. Lightly textured surfaces tend to be more slip inhibiting than slick or highly polished material.


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